Monday Practice Notes

The Bruins are in pads and still not tackling, but the team is generally looking sharper as it begins its second week of spring practice...

Monday's practice wasn't too eventful. The team is in pads, but still hasn't begun to tackle yet.

It's still tough to get a read on the running backs since they practice on the other end of Spaulding Field from where press and fans are allowed to sit.

At quarterback, John Sciarra continues to impress. His arm strength is at least that of Cory Paus's, and he's more mobile than Paus. Paus, of course, has a huge advantage in experience and knowledge of the position and the offense, but in the 7-on-7 drills there are times when Sciarra appears more effective. Paus looked better Monday, throwing the ball with more zip.

An area of concern is punt returners. Craig Bragg looks to be the most solid returning punts, but Tyler Ebell is struggling to catch punts. Akil Harris is now taking reps, while Ricky Manning hasn't in a couple of practices.

At punter, it might appear that Chris Kluwe could give Nate Fikse some competition. The problem Kluwe has had in the past was in his consistency of dropping the ball, which would lead to inconsistent punts. But Kluwe is getting more and more consistent, booming 60-yarders over Spaulding. His shanks are getting less frequent, plus his shanks go 35-40 yards anyway, which is as good as most college punters anyway.

The wide receivers are an interesting group to watch. While there was a question of depth, especially with Ryan Smith out for spring practice, there is a possibility that some walkons will be able to step up and provide some time. And it's just not Garrett Lepisto, the walkon who saw game time last year. In fact, Russell Thomas, the converted redshirt senior defensive back, probably looks better than Lepisto at this time. Thomas is 6-3, long and pretty quick, and is getting better and more comfortable as a wide receiver every day. He looks like a more natural fit at wide receiver than he ever did at defensive back. And, surprisingly, converted redshirt freshman quarterback Josh Roenicke has a chance down the line to develop into someone who could see minutes. Even though he's 6-2, he physically doesn't look like much compared to Tab Perry and Junior Taylor, but he has some definite quickness and is pretty explosive off the line. At this point, Thomas, Lepisto and even Roenicke might be ahead of Jacques Lazarus on the wide receiver depth chart. Taylor continues to improve every day.

Kevin Brant is working as the starting strong safety, and it leads you to wonder if it's partly because the coaches want to inspire Jibril Raymo and give him something to work toward? Ben Emanuel dresses out but only runs. Physically Emanuel looks great, like he's matured physically and trimmed down a bit. Walkon safety Chad Rogers has generally looked good in his first week of practice.

Mammoth offensive lineman Ed Blanton didn't participate much in practice, mostly running the field. If it was due to an injury, I haven't heard it just yet.

Walkon Update: There is a high school senior who attended practice yesterday that was offered by a few different programs that intends to walk on at UCLA. The reason for the secrecy is that if other programs realized that this player intends to walk on at UCLA, they could offer him a scholarship.

Matt Moore again attended practice Monday, as did Wesley Walker.

High school junior wide receiver Quintin Daniels from Loyola also attended practice, and stayed very late, talking with the coaches, particularly Don Johnson. Daniels will not participate in the Nike Camp on Saturday, nursing a hamstring injury he suffered in track.


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